DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — To honor the legacy of the sport‘s founding family, NASCAR today announced that the Bill France Cup will be awarded to the champion of the NASCAR Cup Series, beginning in 2020.
The renamed trophy pays tribute to Bill France Sr., who founded NASCAR in 1947, as well as his son, Bill France Jr., who elevated the sport to a national phenomenon as the sanctioning body‘s chief executive from 1972 to 2003.
“As the sport ushers in a new era, it‘s fitting that my father‘s name is associated with the highest mark of excellence in our sport,” said Jim France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “My father and brother‘s vision for NASCAR has been realized, many times over, as millions of fans follow and engage each week with the best racing in the world.”
The Bill France Cup, created by Jostens, will maintain the size and shape of last year‘s championship trophy and will feature outlines of the 24 NASCAR Cup Series racetracks that comprise the 2020 season schedule. The trophy design will be updated as the race schedule evolves, and new tracks are introduced to NASCAR Cup Series competition.
Bill France Sr. spearheaded NASCAR from its beginning and directed it to its current role as the world‘s largest stock car racing organization. Born in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26, 1909, he came to Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1934. In 1947, France became the driving force behind the establishment of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The new organization was called NASCAR, resulting from a famous meeting at the Streamline Hotel on A1A in Daytona Beach — a structure that stands to this day as a racing landmark.
Things moved quickly in the 1950s and 1960s for NASCAR. As the sanctioning body‘s first president, France built two superspeedways that came to personify the sport — 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway and 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Bill Sr. passed away in 1992 at the age of 82.
Bill France Jr. is remembered as the man who followed his visionary father at NASCAR‘s helm, in the process becoming a visionary himself as he guided NASCAR to unprecedented levels of popularity. France, who passed away in June 2007 at the age of 74, grew up in the formative years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences, and those of his father.
Bill Jr. became NASCAR‘s president in January 1972, replacing his father and becoming only the second president of the world‘s largest auto racing sanctioning body. His emergence coincided with the sport‘s emergence, and its eventual ascent to become America‘s No. 1 form of motorsports.